In this week issue of Media Literacy Digest, open education and connectivism advocate George Siemens, explores and reports about his new media technologies discoveries and their possible impact on how we work, learn and communicate together.
Photo credit: Ktsdesign
Inside this Media Literacy Digest:
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Moving Away from Social Media to Business Focus - a confused and rambling post, but the underlying point - moving beyond the hype and buzzwords and recognizing impact of what is commonly called social media - is something most organizations are now focusing on.
Social Learning Examples - a great listing of technologies compiled by Jane Hart in response to questions about examples: "So here are over 100 ways that different social technologies (and tools) are being used by learning professionals worldwide"
"While social media often commands favorable media attention, the less often told story is that successful initiatives are rare to come by and that there are still a number of organizational roadblocks that managers need to overcome in order to make progress."
In a post on my connectivism site, I argue that the future of learning will be in social networking services, not in learning management systems (an assertion not everyone agrees with - see the comments in the post).
Readers of this blog (or newsletter) are likely aware that I recently made a transition from University of Manitoba to Athabasca University. With the joys of geographical moves (I am now located in Edmonton), life is a bit chaotic.
I will write more on this in the future, but I am now with the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute. The institute has three areas of research interest:
Here is a short interview of Terry Anderson by Institute Director, Griff Richards, Social Software Goes to School. The interview explores a social networking research project Terry has been running for over two years at Athabasca (originally titled Me2U) using ELGG.
A large scale deployment of ELGG is planned at Athabasca University in early 2010…
Like the rest of society, universities and colleges are reacting to social networking technology - Networking U
"The good news is, universities over the past decade have been adapting to meet students at the level of technology they have come to accept. That means not only deploying state-of-the-art hardware and software, but also embracing the concepts of social networking and virtual communities.
"Learning is a social activity," says Adams, who is now in the third year of her learning and technology project. "I am trying to use the technology to make the face-to-face contact even richer."
There is also the challenge of teaching students themselves how to use these new technologies productively - learning the ropes in university, Adams says, puts her students at a huge advantage."
My experience with universities suggests that this statement is a bit ambitious. Universities are aware of social networking technology, but they are certainly not embracing it yet.
Small pockets of innovation exist… and most often faculty pushing for change come up against the tyranny of "we cannot support that, it is not secure" or the normalizing influence of naysayers suggesting social technologies are a fad.
The one dominant effect of the web is the externalization or giving-shape to aspects of our daily lives that used to vaporize.
For example, the ever prominent water cooler provided a space to converse. But, once the conversation was done, it vaporized.
With today's social web and the increased data trails we leave in online interactions, GPS, web search, and so on, we are providing a tremendous data trove for future researchers (and even ourselves).
When capturing data, we really do not need to know what we want to do with it in the future. The key is to capture it. Then, as technology progresses and we are better able to analyze and visualize interactions, we can tab the data store and gain new insight into people and activities - years after the data was first made explicit.
Two articles on CNN explore this topic:
"An emerging set of tools is making it easier than ever to track and compile all sorts of "data" and display it in a way that is relatively easy to understand.
You can now point your mobile phone at a street and instantly get ratings for restaurants. Or type in your address and find reports of crimes that may have occurred in your neighborhood. It is even possible to track emotions on a national and global scale."
Data Visualization: "But while "we are collecting data like maniacs," he adds, "our ability to gather data is much greater than our ability to make sense of that data".".
CommonCraft explains Cloud Computing in Plain English. It is a (very) broad overview of cloud computing, explaining it from the perspective of a business owner. But it seems unsatisfying and too simplistic.
Most internet users have experienced some aspect of "the cloud" (in some ways, the cloud is a return to mainframe computing where storage and computation are not local) in their daily online interactions.
Major software companies are pushing their data and software online - Google Docs is a great example… and Microsoft is releasing an online version of Office in 2010 (I initially thought Live.com would be MS counter to Google Docs, but the service only allowed users to upload and share documents, rather than collaboratively edit).
Cloud computing is a nebulous concept - is it a service? A concept? A technology? A series of protocols?. Currently it basically means "whatever our software company is doing right now" - just like Web 2.0 in the mid 2000's.
I am an advocate for technology use for learning, teaching, and interacting. Not quite at a transhumanist level, but still an advocate.
Sometimes, I am enthralled with the limitless potential of the web. Or with the tremendous opportunities that exist when people are able to connect without boundaries. Or the "brave new world" awaiting us once we relinquish to the machine the routine and mundane of human thought. The stuff of dreams. And nightmares.
On reading the 2005 article Turing's Cathedral, I came across this startling quote:
"When our machines overtook us, too complex and efficient for us to control, they did it so fast and so smoothly and so usefully, only a fool or a prophet would have dared complain."
About George Siemens
George Siemens is the Associate Director in the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba. George blogs at www.elearnspace.org where he shares his vision on the educational landscape and the impact that media technologies have on the educational system. George Siemens is also the author of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age and the book "Knowing Knowledge" where he develops a learning theory called connectivism which uses a network as the central metaphor for learning and focuses on knowledge as a way to making connections.
George Siemens -
LearnTrends - LearnTrends 2009
Random Social Media Resources - Sonicko
Learning Management Systems? Or Social Networking? - Vacuum3d
TEKRI - TEKRI
Networking U - Macleans
Data and Visualization - Michael Osterrieder
Cloud Computing In Plain English - Marketspace
Turing's Cathedral - Pavel Losevsky